Childhood · family · Modern Nostalgia

The New Trapper Keeper Game is a Nostalgic Trip Down Memory Lane

This year, my daughter started third grade. I’m unsure how this happened as I swear she just learned how to walk, but I digress…

Third grade is a big year at her school, because not only do third graders finally move upstairs with the big kids, they get their first lockers. What this meant was that she spent the better part of the last half of the summer deciding how she wanted to decorate her locker. She eagerly awaited back-to-school night with the enthusiasm of a kid on Christmas morning. And when that night finally came and I watched her unload a tote bag full of trinkets and decorations and pictures and magnets and a mirror into that sacred metal space, the one that had been assigned specifically to her, I couldn’t help but reflect on my own schoolhood days.

I wasn’t as lucky as my daughter when I was a third grader. There were no lockers for the grade school kids, which meant we were stuck lugging around our books and folders in our backpacks. When the school year rolled around, we weren’t assigned lockers, so we had to look forward to getting school supplies instead. New backpacks, pencil boxes, folders, pens and pencils fueled our enthusiasm for those Monday through Friday days.

I never longed for a locker of my own, mostly because I knew it wasn’t an option.

Instead, my childhood was mostly spent longing for the one school supply that everyone else other than me seemed to have:

A Trapper Keeper.

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Oh, long-lost Trapper Keeper of yesteryear, how I loved you. From your bright, 80s-inspired colors and graphics to your oddly sweet plasticy smell, you were a were a treasure. 

While I somehow managed to go through school without ever owning a Trapper Keeper, my nostalgia for them remains, even now, decades later.

So when I was presented with the opportunity to check out the new Trapper Keeper Game from Big G Creative, you better believe the little girl inside me raised her hand and waved it around as excitedly as I used to when I wanted to be picked for Heads Up 7 Up.

The packaging alone for the Trapper Keeper Game is enough to send any 80s or 90s child into nostalgia-laced trip down memory lane. An adorable, miniature-sized Trapper Keeper holds all the game pieces, which includes Trapper Keeper folders and a variety of cards you collect during the game. The homework, quizzes, signatures, report cards, notes from classmates, and field trip slips will make you feel like you’re right back in school, waiting for the bell ring for lunch. 

You score points by stashing these cards in your carefully selected (no fighting or you’ll get sent to the Principal’s office…) Trapper Keeper folder. Your overall total points will increase based on how many doodles you collect, too, so be sure to pay attention in class! At the end of the “school day”, the player with the most points wins the game!

The Trapper Keeper Game is actually a simple game, although it doesn’t appear that way the first time you read the instructions and play it. I think it was because it wasn’t quite clear at first what the “game” was beyond collecting cards and totaling up the points. When we were first reading the rather lengthy instructions, we felt there were too many things to do, too many types of cards, too many ways to get points, and the strategy behind it was not that apparent. 

But there actually is some fun strategy involved in deciding what cards to take, what “doodles” to collect, and where to put them in your Trapper Keeper folder. (There are a few YouTube videos you can watch that I think better explain the game play than the written instructions do).  

After playing one round, we understood the strategy, the game got easier, and we got into a groove with the rules and strategies for getting a good score. It seems appropriate for a game with its roots in school, where the same rules generally apply: once you get the hang of things, it’s so much better.

Even though my daughter has never seen a real Trapper Keeper, she thought this game was pretty awesome. Turns out you don’t need to have lived in the 80s or 90s to appreciate the fun products those years are famous for.

Keeping score.

Overall assessment: The quality and design of the Trapper Keeper Game is very good and certainly nostalgic. The instructions are detailed (7 pages), but one thing that seems to be missing is a clear and simple statement about the object of the game. The game is indeed simple to play, but it seems like you need to play it once to really understand how to play it. We actually discussed the game structure and thought this might actually be a better game if it were developed as a board game, along the lines of The Game of Life. For what it is though, it’s a pretty fun game.

So for some old-school fun, pick up the Trapper Keeper Game, play a few rounds, and stash away some new memories courtesy of an old favorite. (Ages 8+)

Childhood · family · Modern Nostalgia · Nostalgia · Parenting · Stories

Why I’m Not Letting this Late Summer Get the Better of Me

I’m struggling with summer this year.

We’re 21 days into June, and it still doesn’t feel like this season has really started yet.

Every afternoon, a smattering of raindrops streams down my window, and I feel my dreams for a magical summer sliding down beside them. As I sit inside at work, watching these rivers snake their way across the glass, I wonder why my stress levels are rising like the puddles I step into on a regular occurrence these days.

Maybe I’m just a little nostalgic for the way summers once were—for the way I remember them.

When I didn’t wake up before sunrise and crash on the couch at an embarrassingly early hour. When the lights from the lampposts were my nightly reminder to go inside and sprinklers solely existed to be run through instead of simply watering the lawn I need to regularly weed. When lightning bugs lit up mason jars and cloud gazing seemed like a perfectly acceptable way to spend the day.

When everything was magical and happy and, most of all, easy.

But I’m determined not to let this late-blooming summer get the better of me.

Earlier this week, on our way home, my daughter and I decided to ruin our dinner and stopped to get ice cream.

We sat outside on a patio and let the afternoon’s post-storm, humid air create sweat lines down our backs. We brushed our hair off our damp foreheads and dipped our spoons into our cold treats, savoring their sweetness. Later, we ate salad on the couch while we watched a silly show, and then I gave my daughter a little pedicure in the prettiest shade we could find.

As I painted her toenails, I looked up, wondering what Zoey might remember about her summers as a child.

Fortunately – or maybe unfortunately I guess – Zoey doesn’t have summers like I once did. She goes off to summer school as I go to work, and her real summertime exists in the evening hours and on the weekends.

But as we sat there together, me worried if I was really doing everything I could to make this summer one to remember, I watched a smile tug at the corners of her lips. I listened as her giggles filled the space between us. And I felt a familiar feeling bubble up inside me.

It felt easy.

I hope Zoey remembers that night. When mango gelato dripped from her chin as a rainbow appeared above us and the sun began its evening descent. When my fingers tickled her tiny toes as I painted them turquoise blue, the exact same shade of her nightgown. When she curled herself up against me as the ceiling fan whirred above us and the eager crickets chirped outside her window.

I hope she remembers her last words before sleep took her away that night.

“This was the best day of summer ever.”

Even if she doesn’t remember those words, I will.

I will carry her words with me whenever I’m feeling guilty that maybe summers now will never be what I remember. For not being able to give her a summer like those I remember.

Because other than being technical term for this season, what really is summer?

It’s a feeling—one I’m determined to create, for both her and for me, one ruined dinner at a time.

Childhood · family · News · Nostalgia · Parenting · Stories

Blessed, Beautiful Now Released on Amazon.com!

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5It’s Here! Corey’s Book, Blessed, Beautiful Now, is Available on Amazon!

Hey there Nostalgia Seekers!  It’s finally here! 

Corey’s new book, Blessed, Beautiful Now, is a lovingly curated collection of personal essays from her Everyday Nostalgia series, and it is on sale now at Amazon at a very special, limited-time price!

Blessed, Beautiful Now gives readers the opportunity to follow Corey’s heartfelt journey as she navigates the complexities of life after divorce. Her raw and relatable stories are full of emotion, inspiration, and insight. Corey’s writing blends storytelling and practical lessons to provide a compelling, emotional, and powerful platform to encourage women to celebrate their own blessed, beautiful now. Continue reading “Blessed, Beautiful Now Released on Amazon.com!”

Childhood · Nostalgia · Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday | Nostalgic Childhood Books to Warm Your Winter

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It’s the middle of January, and winter finally came to Denver. I think back now to December, the month you typically wish for snow—especially that magical Christmas snow—and it was dry, dry dry, leaving me in a slightly salty mood throughout the month.(Don’t get me wrong. Christmas is without question my favorite time of the year. So when I say the lack of snow altered my mood, it means my Christmas spirit was diminished from say, an 11 down to a 10).

But diminished it was, and the reason was this: my Christmas nostalgia heavily associates the holidays with falling snow. I grew up in Wyoming, and although the constant wind blew a lot of the white stuff to Nebraska, my visions of Christmases past have snow blanketing the landscape. I recall fluffy flakes dancing from the sky and loading up the record player with Christmas albums, listening to the likes of Bing Crosby and Dean Martin and the Carpenters sing “White Christmas” and “Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!” and “Sleigh Ride.” My memories are filled with the glow of Christmas lights on frosted bushes and trees. To me, snow = Christmas. That’s what I hope for every year. Continue reading “Throwback Thursday | Nostalgic Childhood Books to Warm Your Winter”

Childhood · Music Monday · Nostalgia · Parenting · Stories

My Blessed, Beautiful Now Book + BONUS Music Monday Playlist!

I turn my eyes forward, and together Zoey and I start running along the water’s edge, our footfall heavy on the cold, wet sand. Together we are running, slowly at first, and then all at once faster: Toward tomorrow. Toward the future. Toward all our journeys ahead.

The bittersweet end to my Everyday Nostalgia series was a little more than a year ago. But in many ways, it seems like only yesterday I typed those words with an eye toward the unknown, exciting future that lay ahead for me and my daughter. I believed the coming year was going to be a watershed year full of change, opportunity, and growth. And you know what?

It was.

After three-and-a-half years, I left a job where my time was undervalued and my talents were underutilized and started as the Director of Marketing in a completely new industry. I was selected as one of the first Writers in Residence on Kindred Mom. I celebrated my thirty seventh year of being alive and my daughter’s seventh.

I learned to be a little more leisurely. I started going to movies again. I read more. I got a lot more sleep.

And I fell in love.

So here I am in January 2019, counting my blessings and feeling happy and alive and wondering what comes next. For me. For my daughter. For my writing. For my life.

Well, dear readers, while I’m not quite certain about where my life will take me, I can tell you what comes next for my writing.

Your love and kindness and encouragement were so overwhelming and inspirational I just couldn’t leave my words to remain floating around the digital landscape of the internet. They needed a new life beyond The Nostalgia Diaries blog.  A life worthy of The Nostalgia Diaries ideals. And what’s more nostalgic for a writer than to have your words live a perpetual life on actual paper?

Because you all had wonderful things to say about my Everyday Nostalgia posts and because many of you suggested I needed to make it into a book, that’s exactly what I did.

I am thrilled to announce that my book, Blessed, Beautiful Now will be published and available from Amazon at the end of this month, January 31, 2019! The book is a collection of lovingly curated stories from my Everyday Nostalgia series. As those of you who followed my journey know, my essays followed my year long journey with my remarkably insightful daughter as I navigated the complexities of my unexpected life after divorce. You’re sure to find it engaging, inspirational, relatable, and heartwarming.

Whether you’ve read one, a few, or all of the Everyday Nostalgia posts on The Nostalgia Diaries blog (or maybe you haven’t read any of them), I think you’ll love having them compiled in one place. There’s just something real…comforting…satisfying, about a book you can hold in your hands, ink indelibly printed on creamy white pages, ready to flip and dog-ear and bookmark. In the immortal words of Hemingway, “There is no friend as loyal as a book.”

(Of course, for those who love the convenience of having all your books in one place, Blessed, Beautiful Now will also be available to download to your Kindle).

So at the risk of sounding completely “salesy,” please head over to my website, coreywheeland.com, to learn more about my Blessed, Beautiful Now book, and sign up to my mailing list.  You’ll be one of the first to know about my special book-launch price, which will be good for only a few days after the book is released! You won’t want to miss it! Buy it for yourself or buy it for a friend. Maybe one for your mom. Or for a mom-to-be! And once you have read it, I’d love you to take a moment to be one of first to review it on Amazon! (As you may know, early and authentic Amazon reviews help so much!)

Thank you to all you amazing Nostalgia Seekers! We are looking forward to a fantastic, fulfilling, and fabulous 2019!


BONUS! 21 Songs That Inspired Everyday Nostalgia and Blessed, Beautiful Now

Since it is Monday, how about a new Music Monday list? We haven’t done a playlist in a while, and we are feeling a bit nostalgic for the songs leading up to the creation of the Everyday Nostalgia series and my book, Blessed, Beautiful Now. We are throwing it back to 2017, and, really, basically all the years before that. Or after. It’s an anything-goes post!  Enjoy!


Follow Your ArrowKacey Musgraves


Keeping the FaithBilly Joel


Feel it StillPortugal. The Man


RainPatty Griffin


Can’t Stop the Feeling  – Justin Timberlake


Brand NewBen Rector


RoarKaty Perry


BraveSara Bareilles


How You Get The GirlTaylor Swift


Fight SongRachel Platten


I Am Woman, Hear Me RoarHelen Reddy


This is MeThe Greatest Showman Cast


SunsetThe Midnight


Happy PeopleLittle Big Town


Want You BackHAIM


Waiting for My Real Life to BeginColin Hay


UnavoidableNeon Trees


Light OnMaggie Rogers


Damn, Do I Think About YouSteve Moakler


Somebody Loves YouBetty Who


Talk to Us:  What songs are going to inspire you to follow your passion in 2019?


coreyCorey is a writer, graphic designer, and mom to her amazing daughter, Zoey. Here at The Nostalgia Diaries, her goal is to simplify, enhance, and engage people’s lives by helping them focus on the most important things: remembering, appreciating, believing, and becoming. It’s all about celebrating the past to create better days today.


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At The Nostalgia Diaries, our goal is to help you simplify, enhance, and engage your lives by focusing on the most important things: remembering, appreciating, believing, and becoming. It’s all about celebrating the past to create better days today.

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